The west-central Idaho resort now has seven lifts, 38 runs, and 1,100 skiable acres.
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The west-central Idaho resort now has seven lifts, 38 runs, and 1,100 skiable acres.
Tamarack Resort, ID

two years ago, when Tamarack became the first new destination ski resort to open in more than 20 years, it had a measly 700 acres of skiable terrain with five lifts and 25 runs. What a difference a couple of seasons can make. The west-central Idaho resort now has seven lifts, 38 runs, and 1,100 skiable acres. Even the snowfall seems to be increasing: Last season saw 400-plus inches of light and dry. Get there before the masses find it.

Powder Day

Be ready to boogie when the Tamarack Express four-pack pulls out for midmountain at 9 a.m. From there, transfer to the Summit Express for newly gladed runs with pitches that approach 40 degrees, like Me First and Oo-La-La.

Three Days Later

Hit the glades skier’s left of the Wildwood Express in The Grove. Expect tight lines around tamarack trees. (The resort’s namesake pine sheds its needles like a deciduous tree, so tree wells are rare).

Park and Pipe

Peddle your junk in the NoBusinessTerrainPark off the Tamarack Express chair, where 35-foot back-to-back jumps, curved rails, and boxes could damage your wares. Big boys play in the 18-foot-high, 400-foot-long Hell’s Canyon Superpipe off the same chair.

Backcountry Access

Two backcountry gates along WestMountain give way to 5,000 acres of newly accessible terrain—as in four miles of bowls and glades to the north and four miles of chutes and glades to the south. Hire a guide ($200 to $400 per person) and hit the 40-degree treed runs along JP’s Nose.


Most of Tamarack’s dumps come from the south or northwest, where they hit the 7,700-foot-high spine of West Mountain and deliver an average 300 inches of intermountain snowpack annually. Seasons can last well into May.


The Vertical Bar makes huckleberry vodka cocktails ($6) in the village dome tent (permanent structures still to come). Or head 20 miles south to McCall, and McCall Brewing Company, where you can get a pint of Jughandle Amber for $6 (807 North 3rd Street).


Besides burgers and fries, the Canoe Grill, near the base of the Discovery chair, serves up quesadillas ($9), fish tacos ($12), and wood-oven-fired pepperoni pizzas ($15).

Up All Night

Middle-of-nowhere Idaho doesn’t throw down, but bands and DJs hit the newly opened Seven Devils Pub off the Discovery chair most weekends.


The Lodge at Osprey Meadows (tamarackidaho.com) has hotel- and condo-style rooms that start at about $180 a night. Kick it in the 20-person hot tub on the patio or get a massage in the spa.

—Tim Neville



Scene: The Small Arms Race

Independent resorts are competing with the big boys by expanding terrain. But will more skiable acres translate into more powder for everyone?

During the summer on Aspen Mountain, you can play on the world’s highest disc-golf course. Hike or take the gondola to the top of Ajax for 18 holes of disc golf at 11,000 feet.

Ski Resort Disc Golf

At these resorts the lifts run through the summer to access some of the best high-altitude disc-golf courses in the country.